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Spurs “what if” #9- Tim Duncan joins the Orlando Magic

Doc as the greatest coach in the NBA?

San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Clippers Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

I love this picture because it literally looks like Doc Rivers is taking Tim Duncan away from Gregg Popovich.

Well, we know that didn’t happen, but if legend has it correct, Tim Duncan signing with Orlando may have come down to one sentence from Doc, “Tim, of course your family can travel with the team.”

I’m sure there was more to it than that, but had Duncan left San Antonio after the lone 1999 NBA Championship, a few things may have happened:

  • The Spurs would have been limited to one title thus validating Phil Jackson’s asterisk comment.
  • Can anyone imagine the Spurs with Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili without Duncan? Tony would have been with the Knicks and Manu might have just decided winning international Olympic gold was more fun than playing guard on a team that missed the playoffs every other season.
  • What about Pop? We all thought he would retire along with Duncan and we now know he truly loves coaching this game, with or without generational superstars. But that early on? Does he stick with it? Or does he move into the front office and let someone else take the reins?
  • And what about Orlando? Is a Big 3 of Duncan, Grant Hill, and Tracy McGrady more successful than the international big 3 of San Antonio? I want to say I think Hill and McGrady would have egos that could hinder more than Parker and Ginobili.

What do you think, Pounders? Could Duncan have left, and then returned after finding out the grass wasn’t greener? A Prodigal Spurs Fan would certainly welcome a prodigal superstar.

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